Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love
Series: Belador #1
All her life, Evalle has been straddling the line between human and demon. Curious about her origins, but content to live in the shadows, she finds that anonymity threatened by escalating conflicts between species. Accused of a savage murder, she’s forced center stage in what seems like the beginning of an Atlanta apocalypse. Before long though, her personal problems will submerge as she learns startling facts about a hoard of supernatural terrorists.
This book has been in one of my shelfs for several years, but finally I have picked it. One more series I start… I’m a series starter. Not so much a finisher. But I’m still young, so…
Urban Fantasy is by far my favourite genre, even though I read romance more. That’s because in Spain, the former is not very popular. I always have to explain what Urban Fantasy is to my friends and family. As you can imagine, few books of that genre are found in bookshops over here. Urban Fantasy by Sherrilyn Kenyon is a plus. She is one of my favourite writers, no matter what she writes.
The fist book of the Belador saga is just a huge display of the fictional world both authors have imagined. There are character introductions in every chapter and, by the end of the book, the cast size is quite impressive. It’s the kind of character display I’m used to finding in Paranormal Romance, where authors present the characters that will star in the upcoming books. But in the Belador series it seems we are not changing the main character any time soon. So, yeah, the character treatment is unexpected for the Urban Fanatasy genre. The description of the male ones is SO typical of Romance books. Something I can totally understand taking into account both authors are also romance writers.
Enough rambling! Did I like the book? No doubt about that. The main character is Evalle, a Belador (some kind of celtic warrior) that keeps demon at bay. But she is a special branch of Belador called Alterant. They are very rare. The main difference is that they can shift into very dangerous beasts. If an Alterant becomes a monster, it’s captured and locked forever. That’s why Evalle works harder than most and keeps most of her work mates far away. She has huge trusting issues for several reasons: her Alterant condition, tough childhood… She only has two Belador friends: Tzader and Quinn (a couple of über sexy hunks, of course).
This books opens a lot of plot lines and barely close any: the search of the Ngak Stone before it claims a new host, the impending trial before the Tribunal to decide her fate, the mysterious Isak’s inquisition, the getting to know Storm, the blind woman and the Kujoo… And I bet I’m forgetting something. It’s a bit too much and many of those end in a “To be continued” that, for some reason, has been more hurtful than other cliffhangers I have encountered so far. On the other hand, so much in the plate has made this book very fast paced, which is always a nice plus for Urban Fantasy. It’s a genre where you expect a lot of ass-kicking. This one delivers.
The mythology Dianna and Sherrilyn have created is very rich, as I always expect in a Kenyon book. It can feel a bit cramped for the untrained reader, but it’s always good to know that the following books will have a crazy Universe to plant their roots. The crazier the Universe, the better an Urban Fantasy book will be. That’s my opinion, at least.
There is also a bit of romance involved. Evalle hasn’t got a couple in her whole life, but suddenly she finds two candidates: Storm and Isak. Both tall, handsome and ripped (one more trait taken from Romance books). Isak is a human mercenary that hates supernatural beings, especially Alterants (go figure…) and Storm is a cursed werepanther. Which one I think is a better suitor for her? That’s a tough one. Isak looks like he is going to be a lot of trouble once he finds out what Evalle is; but he is still a mystery. So far, Isak has been pretty nice. Storm is actually the worst of the book, in my opinion. He is just the classic shifter from Paranormal Romance books. You know, the ones whose animal part is the one that fells in love due to a weird mystical mating… I can’t barely believe love stories when they start that way. So yeah, Storm is currently better positioned to win Evalle’s heart, but my candidate to support is going to be Isak. At least for the moment.
The main course of the book is the Ngak Stone and the Kujoo warriors. The last ones are the Belador nemesis. They want to use a very powerful artifact (the Ngak Stone) to get rid of every Belador there is. As you can imagine, there are several clashes between both factions that make the story fluid easily. There is also a nice story among a reformed Kujoo warrior and the new host for the Ngak Stone. That part is actually my favourite. Very sweet.
If you don’t mind your Urban Fantasy with a side of romance (very light romance, I swear!!), this book is very enjoyable. It doesn’t let the reader to take a breath, which conceals some of the flaws of the narration (the timeline is a mess!).
Next: Off Base by Annabeth Albert